Why Fulham are called 'Fulhamerica' & the USMNT stars who have played for the Cottagers

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GOAL takes a look at why Fulham FC are called 'Fulhamerica' and the USMNT superstars who have graced Craven Cottage.

In the summer of 1997, Fulham was bought by an Egyptian businessman Mohamed Al-Fayed. The Cottagers were languishing in the third division but their new owner promised that the club would ply their trade in the Premier League in the next five years despite no outlandish spending.

They started to rebuild themselves and turned their sights to the United States to scout cheap yet quality talent. In 1999, when they were promoted to the second division, it saw the arrival of Marcus Hahnemann from Colorado Rapids for just £80,000. And thus began the saga of Fulham and the United States of America...

Why are Fulham called "Fulhamerica'?

Although Hahnemann failed to find his feet at Craven Cottage, the club continued to monitor the American talent pool for recruitment. Eddie Lewis joined in 2000, who again turned out to be a disappointment as he could not prove his mettle in west London, making just 22 appearances, and his highlight was a winning goal against Derby County in the League Cup.

Nonetheless, the club kept their trust in American players and signed Carlos Bocanegra and Brian McBride in the winter transfer window of 2003-04. In no time, both of them became fan favourites for their commitment to the badge which initiated a golden era of "Fulhamerica'.

A couple of years later in 2006, Clint Dempsey, was roped in from New England Revolution for a whopping £2m. This made the most expensive American player to play in the Premier League. And with Dempsey's success, several others followed suit like Kasey Keller and Eddie Johnson.

Fulham not only had ample representatives of the United States in the dressing room but in 2013, an American businessman of Pakistani origin, Shahid Khan, purchased the club from Al Fayed. Khan, 72, continues to be the chairman of the club but his son, Tony Khan, is at the wheel as the Vice Chairman and Director of Football Operations.

Over the years, a total of 11 USMNT players have gone on to play for Fulham including Tim Ream and Antonee Robinson from the current squad.

GOAL takes a look at the most notable USMNT players who have adorned the Fulham shirt.

  1. Marcus Hahnemann | (1999-02)

    Marcus Hahnemann | (1999-02)

    Marcus Hahnemann was the first American import by Fulham. However, he could not establish himself as the first-choice keeper ahead of Maik Taylor and was sent out on loan to Rochdale and Reading.

    The signing of Edwin van der Sar further slipped him down the pecking order and was released at the end of the 2001-02 season.

  2. Eddie Lewis | (2000-02)
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    Eddie Lewis | (2000-02)

    Eddie Lewis was roped in 2000 but could not make an impact at Cavern Cottage. He made just 22 appearances in his three seasons and was sold to Preston North End where he became an important member of the squad.

  3. Brian McBride | (2004-08)
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    Brian McBride | (2004-08)

    There was another USMNT player who played a crucial role in Fulham's escape, Brian McBride. Having joined Fulham in 2004 he went on to make over 154 appearances, scoring 40 goals including 12 in the 2006-07 season.

    In the next season, McBride was awarded the armband for Fulham. He was a fan favourite for his movements inside the box and high work rate. With each passing season, his popularity soared and the club renamed a bar inside Craven Cottage, "McBride's", in June 2009 to commemorate his contributions to the club.

  4. Carlos Bocanegra | (2004-08)
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    Carlos Bocanegra | (2004-08)

    Carlos Bocanegra joined the club in 2004 and was soon rewarded with the moniker of the Jackal and the Black Snake.

    He was a versatile player who played primarily as a centre-back, but also as a left-back and a holding midfielder. He was known for his aerial presence, his ability to read the game, and his tenacity in the tackle. In the 2006-07 season, he scored five goals to become Fulham's second-leading goalscorer behind McBride.

  5. Clint Dempsey | (2007-12, 2014)

    Clint Dempsey | (2007-12, 2014)

    Clint Dempsey is widely regarded as one of the most successful American players to have played for Fulham. He joined the club in 2007 and went on to make 232 appearances, scoring 60 goals in the process. He was a key player for Fulham and helped the club reach the 2010 Uefa Europa League final.

    However, his contribution to Fulham's 'Great Escape' from relegation in the 2006-07 season still remains etched in the memory of the Cottagers. In the final matchday against Liverpool, he scored the winner to save the Superwhites from going down.

  6. Kasey Keller | (2007-08)
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    Kasey Keller | (2007-08)

    Kasey Keller was signed as a backup keeper to Antti Niemi in 2007. However, he soon became the number one choice between the sticks as Niemi was injured for the bulk of the season.

    Keller played a crucial role with his gloves at the business end of the season as he made several saves against Portsmouth at Fratton Park to avoid relegation on the final matchday.

  7. Eddie Johnson | (2008-11)

    Eddie Johnson completed his transfer to Fulham on January 23, 2008, on a three-year contract. However, he could not make an impression on the fans as he spent most of his time on loan in Cardiff City, Aris, and Preston North End.

  8. Emerson Hyndman | (2014-2016)

    Emerson Hyndman | (2014-2016)

    Emerson Hyndman is a Fulham academy graduate who joined the youth ranks in 2011 at the age of just 15. In 2014, he made his professional debut and went on to make nine league appearances in his first season. After spending a couple of seasons with the London club he moved to AFC Bournemouth in 2016 as he kept struggling to get minutes under his belt.

  9. Tim Ream | (2015-present)
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    Tim Ream | (2015-present)

    Tim Ream signed for Fulham in 2015 and continues to be a dependable player at the back. He has made over 250 appearances for the club and has played primarily as a centre-back. However, he has the ability to slot in at left-back if the team requires it. Ream scored his first Premier League goal for Fulham on the Boxing Day of 2022 against Crystal Palace.

  10. Luca de la Torre | (2016-2020)
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    Luca de la Torre | (2016-2020)

    Luca de la Torre moved to England in 2013 to play for Fulham. He made his senior debut in a League Cup match against Leyton Orient. He scored his only goal for the club in the same competition in 2018 against Millwall. In the summer of 2020, he moved to the Eredivisie side Heracles Almelo.

  11. Antonee Robinson | (2020-present)
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    Antonee Robinson | (2020-present)

    Antonee Robinson joined Fulham after Wigan Athletic got relegated to the Championship in the summer of 2020 for £2 million.

    The left-back is an integral member of the Fulham squad and has made 90 appearances for the club so far. He is lovingly called Jedi by the Fulham fans and has a contract until the summer of 2024.